Found via: YALit
When I feel like I'm running low on new recommended titles, I head over to the YA Lit site which has a pretty comprehensive listing of all of the recently published and upcoming YA titles. That's how I stumbled across The Line, and decided it was a must-read when I saw one of the editorial reviews was from Booklist - and written by Lynn from Bookends (and one of my awesome librarians dating back to when I was in middle school).
Rachel has lived on The Property for as long as she can remember. Her mother does domestic work for the intimidating Ms. Moore, and the three of them have lived quietly away from civilization and next to the Line ever since Rachel's father was presumed dead in the war,
The Line separates the Unified States from Away - a place where horrible creatures and the Others, people who are no longer even human, live thanks to the weapons used in the last war. Not that Rachel has seen any of this, for while the invisible border runs right behind Ms. Moore's orchid greenhouse, Rachel has never seen any signs of life on the other side of the border. Until one day she receives a mysterious message asking for help, smuggled by an Other across the Line she'd thought was impenetrable. The message inspires Rachel to start asking questions about the Unified States, Away, and just why her mother insists on keeping them as far from the rest of civilization as possible.
Lynn called this "a good choice for introducing young readers to the science-fiction genre" - and I absolutely agree with that assessment. This is in some ways "dystopia light" - a dystopia more on the level of The Giver rather than The Hunger Games. It's clear that the government of the Unified States isn't all sunshine and lollipops, but Rachel is shielded from a lot of the specifics by her mother and also because she's so young she's not as cynical and jaded as someone like Katniss. This is a solid book for middle grade readers, but more experienced dystopian readers won't find much new here.